Bravo Battery Mixes Brains With Brawn While Supporting 24THMEU
(June 2, 2010)
|MIDDLE EAST (MCN - 5/28/2010) — A common impression of artillerymen is guys
pulling triggers on big guns and firing rounds over long distances, but that
is only a small part of a job that requires Marines to perform many tasks
normally assigned to an infantry line company.|
“It takes a lot of muscle, endurance and always being able to think on the
fly in order to be artillery Marine,” said Gunnery Sgt. Matthew J. Haugh,
battery gunnery sergeant, Bravo Battery, Battalion Landing Team 1st
Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The main purpose of artillery is to shoot, move and communicate, which
sounds easy, until considering how much effort it takes to break down and
then reestablish a battery gun line.
A 7-ton truck drives into position, sand blows
from every direction making it almost impossible
to see or breathe, yet the Marines of Bravo
Battery spring into action. Leaping out of the
back of the truck, they quickly unhook a 155mm
A777 Howitzer and prepare to sight the
Marine Corps cannon crewmen,
Bravo Battery, Battalion Landing Team 1st
Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 24th Marine
Expeditionary Unit endure unforgiving heat as
they fire more than 200 rounds from their M777
A2 155 mm Howitzers during an artillery live
fire range. This is only one of several training
exercises the Marines of the 24th MEU have
completed during their deployment throughout the
gun for accurate firing. Simultaneously a few
others dig holes for the support legs or
"spades" to dig in when the Howitzer fires.
Two Marines prepare an ammo pit and a powder pit on opposite sides of the
truck. Marines then cover any communication wire around their area and dig
fighting holes. In a matter of minutes, the gun is ready for action with
Marines prepared to load and fire the first round. |
"There is much to be done to prepare the gun for a mission, but if the
section is working smoothly as a team it takes only a matter of minutes,"
said Cpl. Dustin A. Berg, cannon crewman, Bravo Battery, BLT 1/9, 24th MEU.
All that is left to do is wait patiently for the command "fire mission."
Once this command is announced, the Marines throw on their flak jackets and
Kevlar helmets and within seconds they have a round in the cannon and the
lanyard, which is what they pull to fire, hooked and ready to go.
"We have to constantly be on our toes out there on the line because at any
second we could receive a mission and we have to be ready to fire in no
time," said Sgt. Casey Cadet, section chief, Bravo Battery, BLT 1/9, 24th
On short notice these Marines get their marching orders. They pack up gear,
take down the Howitzer, hook it up to the truck, move to another location
and start the process all over again.
Occasionally, artillery Marines will have to do a "hip shoot" en route to
their new firing location when artillery is needed for immediate support. A
hip shoot is when they stop at the first clear area to set up their guns;
fire off one round to check aim and make corrections; then the entire
battery fires off rounds. The battery quickly packs up and continues on to
their scheduled position.
Before a battery can move into position, the new area has to be scouted and
prepared. A truckload of Marines, the advanced party, is sent to the new
position to reconnoiter and secure the new position. Once secured, Marines
place marking posts and a line for the 7-tons to drive into their position
and set-up begins.
Artillery Marines may do this several times in one day, including at night,
which is dangerous because there are a lot of moving parts and a battery
sets up with minimal to no light, said Haugh.
"Although there is a lot of hard work and sweat that goes into our job, the
camaraderie and feeling of accomplishment that we have once the mission is
completed successfully makes it worth it and keeps us going every day," said
Aside from gun set-up, these Marines must be proficient in land navigation,
security patrols, digging fighting holes and quickly putting up camouflage
netting over the truck to conceal their position.
According to Capt. Jason R. Gibbs, battery commander, Bravo Battery, BLT
1/9, 24th MEU every Marine in the battery contributes to the mission one way
or another and the job would not be complete without the hard work of each
"This is my one and only chance at being a battery commander and I couldn't
have asked for a better group of Marines, they have proved themselves and I
am extremely confident in their abilities as a battery," Gibbs said.
Article and photo by USMC LCpl. David Beall,
Marine Corps News
Comment on this article